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My late father has left us with a RRIF dilemma. How should I fix it?

Financial adviser suggests paying down the debt, moving closer to work and then focusing on raising a family.


Dear Nancy Woods,

I was wondering if you could be of assistance to me since I'm having a very difficult time finding any advice from the bank institutions and accountants.

The situation is that my father passed away a couple of months ago, naming my mother as the beneficiary of his RRIF account, which has about $50,000. My mother never worked and has never had RRSPs, so she does not have a RRIF account to roll over the funds to. If she takes the money as a lump sum, she will have to pay the taxes, which will eat up quite a bit of the savings.

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Do you know of any solutions to this problem to minimize the taxes she has to pay as she is going to need as much of the savings as possible?

Thank you in advance



Dear Chris,

Your mother does not have to have worked nor has to have an existing RRIF. Your father's RIF can be transferred without tax implications to a RIF in your mother's name. This transfer can only happen when a RIF or RSP is specifically left to a spouse. The investments within the RIF are transferred as they are. They do not need to be sold or redeemed. When your mother passes away, unless she leaves it to a new spouse, it will be considered income to her. Then there will be taxes to be paid.


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Nancy Woods is an associate portfolio manager and investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Visit her website or send an email request to You can also send your questions to

If your question is chosen to be answered on Globe Investor, Nancy will send you a free copy of her book: "The Portfolio Chef".

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